A miscellany of miscellaneous stuff

Outside of the pack wending its way east from Oklahoma, the last piece of gear that I was waiting to have delivered was this aluminized sleeping pad. I ordered the 4 foot length… just long enough for my body itself.   Total weight= 9 oz.

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I also had a couple of projects in mind this morning so I stopped in down at the local hardware store. Just as I was leaving, I was lucky enough to spot a mosquito head-net that I had assumed I would have to stop at a Walmart and pick up. Because I’m going to use a bivy bag instead of a tent, and because June in the Maine North Woods is prime mosquito and blackfly season, I wanted the mosquito netting to put over my head and face while I sleep. Surprisingly, I was able to pick up this Coleman version for a buck and a half less than I would’ve paid even on Amazon. And over at Walmart I would’ve had to settle for an even more cheap0 version from Coglan’s… Not my favorite brand at all.

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I have never put up a picture of the hydration bladder that came with the little Outdoor Products “Mist” daypack. Here it is…  along with the mosquito net and the parts-is-parts from the latest “quicky” project.

I spent a few minutes wonking down in the development lab to rewire the bladder and my Sawyer water filter so that it could be utilized as a “drip” system and left unattended to fill bottles with purified water. The brass coupling on the little piece next to the filter will screw on the sip tube, and is then attached to the input on the Sawyer. The longer tube gets attached to the bottom of the filter and dropped into the neck of the bottle.

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The weight of the water in the bladder should allow it to pass through the filter and into the bottle below for use. Conveniently, the “bite-valve” from the end of the original tubing will screw right onto the smaller tubing  that I bought down at the hardware. This allows me to leave the filter attached to the bladder hose and, with the bite valve on the end of a piece of tubing, I can just sip directly from the bag through the filter and have clean water without waiting for it to drip through into a separate bottle.

[the large Sawyer syringe in the upper picture is so that you can occasionally “backflush” and clean out the filter itself]

Mexican on the Stove

I thought I would give a quick try out of the Trangia style alcohol stove that I plan on taking along this weekend. [I’m also going to carry a soda can stove just to see how it performs out in the winds and wilds.]

Last night I took a few minutes and trimmed a section of aluminum roll flashing into a very nice windscreen that should work with all the stoves… even the little “FireAnt” woodstove when it arrives next month. The flashing I had was 6 inches. I trimmed an inch off of the long dimension so that it would fit under the handles of my cookpot. Then I rounded off the corners so that nothing would poke me, and drilled a series of vent holes around two thirds of the perimeter at the bottom to allow air in for efficient burning. I made a “key hole” in one front edge and a single, smaller hole in the opposite side. I took a copper nail and trimmed it down to a quarter inch on the shank, and then peened the stem over into a rivet once it was inserted in the smaller hole. The large, original head slips right through the keyhole to secure the screen in a complete cylinder. I flexed the whole sheet into a wider cylinder that just stands open around the stove and pot for less windy conditions. When it’s secured closed, it allows for about three quarters of an inch between the pot and windscreen, which is supposedly about the best to allow it to both”breathe” and to reflect heat back against the pot without overheating the stove and wasting fuel. When you’re finished cooking, the whole thing rolls up, and drops right in against the outer wall of the cook pot, taking up almost no space at all.

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You can get an idea of the cooking set up from the above photo.

My stove is from a Chinese manufacturer called ALOCS. It is nearly identical to the Trangia version, but with a slightly different set of flame jets. My biggest consideration was that, sold together with the small anodized pot support that does not come standard with a Trangia, the ALOCS only cost two thirds as much. It also has a much better designed damper-cap [the silver lidded doobie] with a longer handle. That means you’re much less likely to burn your fingers trying to swivel the damper plate.

Using the Olicamp XTS pot and 1 ounce of HEET as fuel, I had this Dollar Store chipotle burgoo coming to a bubble-boil within two minutes. [the stove had”bloomed” within 30 seconds and stabilized to a steady flame within one minute- “bloom” means the interior of the stove has pressurized and the jets have ignited]. I damped down the flame and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. The stove will hold much more fuel than I had put in, and the 1 ounce of HEET was exhausted within another minute after I had taken the pot off the fire. So that gives a total burn per ounce of fuel right at 15 minutes. That doesn’t seem to me to be too bad. I know from past experience with the stoves, that once they have bloomed, you can get 8 ounces of water to a full boil in a good bit less than four minutes… 16 oz. in six.

I’m also happy to report that the $1 Mexican food was actually pretty tasty. Very spicy, and the corn and beans had rehydrated fully. It wasn’t the least undercooked and chewy. So, it made a really nice lunch as well as the demo. There was even more food than I needed to eat. And best of all, that black plastic bowl weighs next to nothing, is relatively sturdy, and is going right in the cook kit for the weekend so that I don’t have to eat out of the pot.

A Fishing “Grenade!”

Recently, over on the site mysurvivalpack.com, I saw an instructable for a fishing “grenade” or “Fishing BOB”. The idea is to use a small, widemouth juice jar with fishing line wrapped around the neck and all of your bobbers, hooks, sinkers etc. stored inside. Self-contained, easy to carry, nothing to snag or stick out of your pack. Supposedly, [supposedly…] you can cast right from the neck of your grenade with a flick of the wrist. We’ll get back to you on that… I contacted the guy who runs the site and asked for permission to repost the entire instructable over here. He was nice enough to say okay. You’ll find it quoted verbatim, pictures and all, at the bottom of this post.

I could no longer find the Wyler’s drink bottles that are mentioned in his version. They seems to moved over to producing only powdered drink mixes. But I found a similar bottle of SunnyD juice down at my grocery here locally. It seems to meet the requirements… most importantly, it has that tapered-in/reduced section below the screwtop for the line to wrap around.

I packed mine up with some snelled hooks and rubber worms contained in a narrow baggie, rolled tight and secured with a twist tie. I gave the baggie a tab made out of duct tape and attached a little lanyard from it to the inside of the screwtop. One tug and the package slides right out into your hand. Sinkers and bobbers I just left loose in the bottom of the bottle, however I will probably find a small baggie for them as well just to reduce the rattling and the noise. My “grenade” went together quite effortlessly and probably didn’t take more than 15 minutes to make. Of course, Chad over on mysurvivalpack.com went to the trouble to paint his bottles nicely and made much more effort with the paracord wraps. Mine came out quite light in weight, so I don’t see any harm in throwing it in the bag. We’ll see how it does when we get up to Cranberry Pond.

…Look out you little fishies, geezer’s going to get ya!

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Posted on 2/16/2014 by MySurvivalPack Support

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 A complete awesome pocket fishing system for kids and adults 5 and up and a great project for the kids! Grab a 6 pack of juice bottles from the dollar store, some 550 cord, paints, some fishing line and some hooks and sinkers and a little bobber and make yourself a custom fishing kit!

The Fishing Grenade (or FishyBoB for kids) is basically a complete fishing system in a bottle!

If you’ve ever been a kid, you might just remember your first time fishing. Maybe you remember how fun it was to catch a fish for the first time and after catching it your parent probably helped you unhook it and let it go back to live with its friends back in the pond. Its possible that your parent probably remembers how big of a pain it was to buy you your own little pole, hooks, bobber, sinker and all that stuff; how they had to cast it for you every time, or perform surgery to untangle it after you cast it and how it lasted about one season before you dropped it in the lake or it broke or fell apart 🙂

Well that’s what I remember doing for my kids and I also remember my kids always trying to find a good excuse to get me to take them fishing again. So standing in line at the gas station a few summers ago, while the kids were jumping up and down begging for candy and junk up at the counter, it hit me…  One of them came up to me with their little junky juice bottle and said, that the top of it it looked like the spool of my fishing reel. My next thought was, I bet a bobber would fit inside it. Then all the ideas started flooding in.

What better excuse could a kid have for a parent to take them fishing than a neat little pocket fishing kit and what better excuse could a parent have to take them fishing than to try out their Fishing Grenade… err I mean FishyBoB.

Fishing GrenadeThe Fishing Grenade itself is just the right size for the average hand. It holds the tackle, bobbers, hooks, and maybe even the bait?. The top portion of the bottle is the shape of a spool so its easy to wind the string up and store it and because of its shape, its really really easy to cast! For older users, it casts great with an underhanded cast. Younger kiddies secure the lanyard to their wrist with quick pull, plop the bait, hook and sinker into its mouth and just huck the whole bottle out there, The hook and bait with the sinker will fall out and sink down to the fish and the FishyBob will act as a bobber. Then just wait for a fish to bite and pull on the lanyard to reel it in!

Fishing Grenade Casting

It fits right in their pocket, there’s no pole to deal with, no tackle box to carry, it floats for those ‘accidents’ and it can be used as a big bobber for the littlest kids. The wrist lanyard keeps it from being thrown into the middle of the pond, it works as a FishyBoB retrieval line for the little kiddies and it also doubles as a stringer if they happen to catch a whopper!

Moms and dads can take the kids fishing and don’t have to mess with lines tangled around a pole or play mechanical engineer to get line untangled from complicated reels. You just throw and fish.

When you’re done, just open the cap, with the line still attached, drop the fish hook in (maybe with the worm still on it?) (ewww!) and close the cap! No yucky worm dangling around, no dangerous hooks sticking out waiting to catch lips or eyelids and into their pocket it goes ready for next time!

It’s very affordable, very crunch and bonk resistant, recyclable and best of all its fun and easy to use anywhere. Have the kids draw or paint a picture of their fishing trip on the bottle.

What a great project! It provides a subject and encourages kids to draw and illustrate, it gives them something to look forward to and something to remember and it encourages the family to get outdoors.Things you’ll need:

Things you’ll need:

  1. Wylers brand juice bottle [You can pick up a six pack of Wylers brand orange drinks from your local dollar store.]
  2. 550 Cord [Your local sporting goods stores sometimes have colorful cord or you can pick up the green stuff at the army navy store.]
  3. Fishing Line [Pick up some 8 or 10 lb test line. I found the braided line doesn’t cast as well. Too much friction.]
  4. Spray Paint or Permanent Colored Markers [Since these things flex, I found that paint doesn’t stay on, rubberized car undercoating spray paint peels off    too. Plastidip spray works ok.]
  5. Rubber Band or Ranger Band (cut from old bicycle inter-tubes)

Peel off the label and dump the juice out (my kids won’t even drink the stuff). The paint or color the bottle. Then tightly wrap the cord around the body of the bottle. You’ll want to first make a loop and lay it long ways over the body of the bottle, then wrap the string over the loop and around the bottle starting at the *open* end of the loop. When you finish wrapping the string, tuck the end of the string through the loop and pull the tail sticking out the other end to pull the end of the string underneath the string thats wrapped around the bottle until the loop is dead center. Then tie the two ends in a square knot and clip the ends short and burn the ends of the cord so it doesn’t unravel.

Now that the hard part is over, wrap your fishing line around the thin waist of the bottle and hold in place with a rubber band. Then fill your bottle with bobbers, hooks and other fishing items, tuck the string in under the cap and twist the cap on to hold it in place.

Fishing Grenade Top

The 30 Second Tinder “Spliff”

While has been well over 20 years since I last rolled a spliff-doobie-bone-muggle-joint out of the good old wacky weed, cigarette rolling is a talent, like riding a bicycle, that you do not forget.  These days I simply smoke a tobacco pipe. Although it is no less addictive, I find that I don’t break out in handcuffs as often. Now, I just about always have a pouch of tobacco in my pocket, but being a geezer I do occasionally forget to take along my pipe. Because of that, there IS package of Zig-Zags in my dash… just in case.

In all the stuff that I’m sorting through I found my tinder box. And then, in one of those cartoon-lightbulb flashes of intuition, I realized that rolling a “spliff” of tinder might be a very handy way to have it readily available. Break it in half, fluff it up, strike a spark… What could be easier?

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Roll, lick, snap, spark, FIRE!

Dryer lint, some oakum strands, some frayed sisal rope and a few strands of 0000 steel wool. I will try a few different combos out of the various tinders in my box. The first thing that occurs to me is that a little bit of fatwood sawdust might be a great addition. I’ll add an update here if I come up with anything really great.

Another triumph from the Moosenut Falls Development Labs.

[it actually had broken out in full flame quite readily, but snuffed out to glowing coals before I could run take the photo]

A “Down ‘n’ Dirty” Anorak

You probably would be hard-pressed to find a faster, cheaper DIY project than this one…

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Yesterday I picked up this chemical “splash guard” suit down at the Fell-Off-A-Truck-Stop [shown here undergoing the rigorous Moosenut Falls Development Labs Quality Control Process by one of our certified technicians]

It only ran me $3. And, yes, it does look like it’s sized for Shaquille O’Neal. For my purposes that’s quite fine. I think it was actually a 3X. Because I was planning on making an anorak and rain chaps out of it, the extra size to allow for warming layers underneath was just what I wanted.

I laid it down on my deck and made a shallow crescent out of six or seven pushpins curving down from one side to the other. This was to hold it firmly and to guide my cut through both layers at once. I used the catenary curve rather than simply cutting it off square. That way it will be easier to pull down over my knees if I want to sit.

Quite literally, 30 seconds later I was finished. It took longer to set up and take the photos than the project itself took.

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The whole package rolls down without any excessive force to just larger than a soda can. I don’t have a scale, but it seems to be about the 1/3 the weight of a full soda can. The suit I used had a zipper that came down fairly deeply, perhaps almost to my crotch, so I believe that I will be able to just step into the anorak and pull it up. Unlike a lot of the white Tyvek jumpsuits I have seen other people on the Internet use for this project, it even had a full-length placket over the zipper. The sleeve cuffs were also elasticized to prevent flapping. I’m going to cut the legs off of the remnant using a pair of jeans as a template. They will be single leg chaps that tie off to my belt.

The one thing that remains to be determined is that, while this is designed to protect from chemical “splashes”, I have no idea how waterproof or water resistant it actually is. So, I have taken one of the legs, folded a couple of pieces of paper towel in under just one layer of fabric, and set it out in the rain with a rock on it to see what it’s “soak through” time might be.

Regardless, and in the worst case, I’ve got a pretty nice, very light-weight wind-suit that allows for layering underneath. Even if it proves not to be terribly waterproof, I have a spray can of Scotchgard that I got a couple of years ago to re-treat an older, but expensive, parka. I’ll give that a shot before I give up.